Online Marketing for Small Businesses

Online Marketing for Small Businesses

In this article, we will attempt to highlight the main aspects of online marketing for small businesses. Indeed, the size of a business often has an influence on the marketing efforts that it will choose to deploy. Plus, the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 has also undeniably struck local businesses more than bigger ones. Therefore, it would be appropriate to say that a small business owner will have to pay attention to finer details regarding marketing strategies.

Getting to Know Your Business

It may sound obvious, but you will have to start by knowing precisely the characteristics of your own company. In effect, online marketing for small businesses requires some self-awareness if one wishes to apply it successfully. Knowing yourself will allow you to better determine your goals and needs while making the most of internet marketing tips.

brand awareness

Brand Awareness

This term refers to both knowing yourself and setting a goal. This is because when you are fully familiar with your product or service, you also increase your chances of being recognized by prospects and customers. More broadly speaking, brand awareness is an indication of the extent to which people recall your brand image in different contexts. This is also what differentiates your products and services from others, thus an acknowledgment of your company’s originality.

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Client Profile

If your company is the heads of a coin, then the customers are the trails of it. So gathering extensive information about your customers (either potential or actual) will also increase both your self-awareness and goal-setting methods. Do you have a customer base, and if yes, what are the main features of the individuals included in it? Do you keep track of their purchase decisions and other processes in which they are involved? Also, do you make use of buyer personas? If you do not have any customers yet, how do you intend to attract people to your business? In brief, you should have precise answers to this kind of question when trying to build your online marketing strategy.

Media Trilogy

While doing research on online marketing for small businesses, you may have heard of ‘earned, owned, paid media. Simply put, 1) earned media refers to exposure gained without having to pay for it (through reviews, reposts, shares, etc.), 2) owned media refers to the properties that are under your control (website, social media pages, blogs, etc.), and 3) paid media refers to marketing tools you pay for (ads, branded content, paid influencers, etc.). Especially online content marketing often consists of a blend of those three. And you will notice the presence of each of them also in the marketing tactics that we will enumerate below.

Social Media Marketing

In this subsection, we will remind the importance of having a social media presence in online marketing for small businesses. Once you have set goals in accordance with your company’s and clientele’s profiles, it’s time to display them. What is meant by ‘display’ is using main social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to draw attention to your business. A well-conducted social media marketing can bring visitors, who may become followers over time, and eventually customers. The type of social media post (pictures, wall texts, video stories, etc.) that you choose should be relevant to the characteristics of your brand/product, as well as the expectations of your target audience. For example, if you own an art gallery, one may assume that sharing only texts and tweets will most likely not be enough.

email marketing

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an important part of content marketing, especially for small businesses. It allows you to create contacts, nurture leads, keep track of your current customers, among other purposes. Online marketing for small businesses often requires more proximity with the clientele. So emails are a classical yet efficient way to create a more personalized relationship. They serve as a reminder of your presence while allowing you to check the temperature’ of your customers.

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For example, a customer may hesitate to write a complaint directly under a social media post. This is where a discussion by email may help to solve the problem and grant more privacy. And don’t forget that you can make use of emails for various kinds of content dissemination (ads, announcements, offers, trials, etc.). It’s also a good idea to keep your email list up-to-date, making sure that you can reach a maximum number of customers at the same time, when necessary.

Online Advertising

The term ‘online advertising’ refers to a large range of online marketing strategies. One of the most practical options for small businesses is Google My Business. This is a tool available for free, and thanks to which businesses can promote their profile through Google Search and Google Maps. It is also an additional bridge to connect companies and customers. If you are looking for a more advanced solution, you may consider using Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) as well. This one is a paid platform allowing you to share more elaborated information about your professional activities.

You have the possibility to link it with your Google My Business and even Google Analytics accounts. Depending on your marketing campaign type, Google Ads offers different kinds of ads (standard, shopping, dynamic search, etc.). It is likely to give you quicker visibility than SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Besides, it allows you to measure your performance regularly, control your traffic, connect with new customers thanks to the partnership with Gmail and even reach back former visitors through Remarketing Lists.

search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can almost be defined as a mastery regarding online visibility. More precisely, this is a method that aims to improve your ranking (both in quantitative and qualitative terms) in search engines and thus the traffic on your website. The main target is organic search results (that is, mostly not paid) through efficient use of keywords that match users’ queries. It is one of the major ingredients of online marketing for small businesses. Indeed, it is, for example, quite easy to imagine how a business blog post would benefit from this kind of optimization. Of course, it is not only limited to the strategic use of keywords. Therefore, collaborating with an agency specialized in SEO would provide effective marketing help.

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FAQ About Online Marketing for Small Businesses

You have mentioned blogs. Is it necessary in online marketing for small businesses?

Having a blog is often recommended for any kind and size of business. The main reason is that blogs are still very popular platforms enabling to share relevant content in a more casual style.

I don’t like to spend time on social media; can I discard it from my marketing strategies?

Not really. Nowadays, having a social media presence is an important norm of success for any business. Still, managing social media can be overwhelming and time-consuming. So you could ask an employee or associate to take care of it or even give this task to a specialized agency.

I don’t understand how a platform like LinkedIn is supposed to help me with marketing.

LinkedIn is a professional platform having more than 760 million users. Not only it allows you to share your credentials, but also to participate in group discussions. This means further opportunities for connection.

Can I use email newsletters? Or are they outdated?

You can certainly use them. Newsletters are efficient, especially for multiple content sharing.

Should I post temporary content or permanent content?

Both. Some of your content should include everlasting or at least long-term information. This would convey a sense of stability and reliability to your audience. However, sharing breaking news, temporary offers and discounts, content related to special events (Valentine’s Day, etc.), or even a daily quote would be effective ‘refreshers’ for your image.

Final Notes On Online Marketing for Small Businesses

This article was a glance at online marketing for small businesses. It has summarized the main points that require particular attention from small business owners. The key to success in this sector is based on a mixture of knowing yourself and your audience, making good use of social media and emails, as well as adding the right dose of advertisement and SEO-friendly content. But don’t take it from us; if you want to learn from the best, then you can check out Apple’s marketing strategy, and see it for yourself.

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Harold

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Since his early years, Harold has been studying the inner workings of different digital environments.

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